The following article appears in the FDLP Library Connection Newsletter (October 2011, Vol. 1 Issue 3).
With an interest in increasing public access to court opinions, the Judicial Conference approved a recommendation of its Court Administration and Case Management Committee for a pilot project to make lower Federal court opinions available through FDsys. The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has been working closely with the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC) to make this a reality.
The United States Courts Opinions collection in FDsys contains opinions from the Federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts. The pilot recently moved from the development phase to the test phase. Initial testing is with three courts: the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, United States District Court District of Rhode Island, and United States Bankruptcy Court Southern District of Florida. The number of courts participating in the pilot will rapidly expand to twelve and, after testing, to more than thirty. The content of this collection dates back to April 2004, though searchable electronic holdings for some courts may be incomplete for this earlier time period.
The opinions are electronically transferred to GPO from the AOUSC’s Case Management/Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF) system. With the secure transfer of files, the chain of custody is maintained, allowing GPO to authenticate the files. The metadata is transmitted as an XML file to GPO from the AOUSC.
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